You have just finished playing that wonderful game of paintball with your friends. It was so full of thrill, excitement, fun, and all the good feelings imaginable. But now it is time to get back home…
You are looking at your clothes with paint splashes all over them. You can hear your mum’s voice in your head. “Bring those stained clothes in my laundry one more time and I will teach you a lesson!” You are well aware of the fact that you have to clean up your mess yourself. And that is what you should be doing anyway. Good morals… Remember?
But you don’t need to worry. It is not as hard as you might think.
All that paint is going to wash out in a few simple steps. And… nobody will ever know.
What Are Paintballs Made Of?
In order to understand how to remove paintball paint from your clothes, you must be aware of what you are dealing with.
Paintballs are Gelatine balls made from polyethylene glycol or sorbitol and paint dye. Apart from these main ingredients, some other substances are used but everything is food-grade, non-toxic, and water-soluble; given that you are using good quality paint.
Having said that the paintballs are water soluble, you must be assured that you can wash them out using water and some detergent.
Steps to Wash Your Clothes With Paintball Stains
As we have made clear that you can easily wash your paintball clothes and remove all paint. Here is a step-by-step process to help ensure 100% success and no-body-will-ever-know results.
It does not matter what you were wearing in the field; all your jeans, shirts, and pajamas can be washed following the same procedure. But it does not include your shoes for sure. We will talk about that later in the article.
Get the Supplies Ready
First of all, you need to get all the things you need to wash those clothes and luckily, there is nothing unusual required.
- A Bucket
- Hot Water for Soaking
- A Soft Brush
- Water to Rinse
1. Let Them Soak
It is always better to start your process by soaking your clothes in some hot water. Water must not be hotter than your clothes can endure and you can check the “endurance rate” from a tag somewhere on your clothing. Mix some detergent in the hot water to help soften the stains.
2. Rub and Scrub
Usually, the paintball rinses off your clothes once you have soaked them in hot water but it is better to check for any persistent stains, especially if you were wearing a light color. Stains are always more prominent against lighter color tones.
If you find any color on your clothes, rub it with your hands or you can take the help of a soft brush too.
If they still persist (which can happen at times, and we will discuss the reasons later on), pour some detergent directly over the stain and scrub it with a soft rush. It must leave till now.
3. Wash them In a Washing Machine
The paint dyes must have died down (pun intended) till now. But if you still see some stains, a cycle in your washing machine will do them justice and help them perish. Washing machines are capable of much more than washing out paintball dyes.
4. Let Them Dry
In case you have pre-treated (washed them with your hands without a washing machine) your paintball clothes and do not intend to run them in the washing machine right away, let them dry in your backyard.
How to Take Care of Your Paintball Shoes?
To determine how to clean those paintball shoes, first, you need to know what they are made of. Not all shoes belong to water and it is not a good idea to wash them.
a) Washable Shoes
Shoes made of cotton, nylon, canvas, and polyester can easily be washed. You can give them the same treatment you gave to your clothes. Pre-wash them with your hands and remove the extra paint and simply dump them in your washing machine. Everything will be fine and clear.
b) Non Washable Shoes
But if you wore your leather shoes to the field, or those made from suede, and vinyl, you will have to pamper them with all the extra care. You can simply wipe the paint off your leather and vinyl shoes with a damp cloth and hopefully, it will go away. Use a toothbrush to get to the creases and remove the paint from them.
But if, by any chance, you wore that pair of suede shoes to a paintball field, it is going to give you a really tough time cleaning it.
Sprinkle some baking soda over the stains and rub it with a brush. Most suede shoes come with a brush and you can use it here but you can also make use of a toothbrush. Remove the paintball dust using a dry microfiber cloth. Most of the paint would go but all the stains may not leave.
But you must have learned your lesson now. Choose a better pair of shoes when you are going paintballing the next time.
What to Avoid While Washing Your Paintball Clothes?
Apart from washing your paintball clothes, here are a few things to avoid while taking care of them. Because if you do not, you may get a few things upset at your home or those stains perpetuated on your clothes
Do Not Let Them Sit For Too Long
Always try to wash your clothes as soon as possible after the play. Letting them sit for above 24 hours may perpetuate them as the paint dries out, leaving hard stains on your clothes.
Do Not Wash Them Directly in Washing Machine
Although there are no toxic materials in paintballs and they are water soluble, it is still better to avoid them straight in a washing machine without pre-washing them. The persistent practice of putting paint in it may cause damage in the long run.
Do Not Use a Dryer
In case you have pre-washed your clothes and do not want to run them in your washing machine immediately, do not use a dryer to dry them out. Drying them out in a dryer means forcing those light stains into the fiber that could have disappeared in the washing machine.
Hanging them on a line in your backyard or balcony and letting them air dry is the best thing to do.
Do Not Use a Fabric Softener
It may sound strange to you but softeners are not always good for your clothes. They can trap stains in them.
So the stain that could have washed out in the next cycle of your washing machine will not go once you have used a fabric softener on it.
Do Not Wash Your Clothes With Light-Colored Clothes
While you are about to run your gear in the washing machine, take extra care not to add any light colored clothes to your machine along with yours.
Unless of course, you have washed all the paint off them. Because if your Mom’s favorite white shirt got even a hint of color on it, the matters are not going to end up in your favor.
Can Paintball Stains be Permanent?
So here comes the paradox. After telling you all the way till here that paintball does not stain your clothes, here we are telling you that, in some cases, it can.
Here are a few reasons that may cause the stains to stay on your clothes, no matter what you do to get rid of them.
Poor Quality Paint
Not all paintballs are the same quality. Some paintballs are made cheaply and, eventually, give cheap results. These paintballs are oil based and, as you can guess, do not go away as easily.
This is the reason behind most paintball fields allowing “field paint only”. No one wants to get their property and equipment ruined simply because a player wanted to save on a few pennies.
Yes, you read that right. There is a difference between “poor quality” paint and paintballs gone bad. Paintballs are good for 4 months from their manufacturing date, but you may use them for a year if you have stored them in optimal conditions.
But if the paintballs have expired, or have gone bad for various reasons (you can read all about paintballs and their life here), they can cause stains you will not be able to remove.
Paintballs are water soluble and an important ingredient in them is gelatin. The gelatin gets thickened with the passage of time and does not wash out so easily, along with many other problems it may cause during your game.
As mentioned before, wash your clothes as soon as possible and before the paint dries out on your clothes, once dried on the fabric, that paint is sure to give you a hard time washing it out. You may even fail to do so in some cases.
Getting hit from a close distance can cause stains too. Pure Physics at work… when you will be hit closely, the velocity of the paintball will be higher. This velocity is going to cause that paint to immerse in the fiber, making it tough to be washed out.
Light Colored Clothes
Specifically speaking, this is surely not a “reason” that can cause a permanent stain on your clothes, but we have to make it count right here. Always try to wear dark colored clothes when you are going for paintballing. It is easier to call a dark colored t-shirt “stain-less” than a light colored one. So choose wisely.
Here you can read our complete guide on “what to wear to Paintball” to have a better idea.
Paintball Splashes Vs. Other Objects
It is not only your clothes that get affected by paintball splashes, everything that comes in its way is going to have a taste of it. When you are playing paintball, you are going to be a lot messier than you can have ever imagined, especially in the beginning.
Here are a few things you are going to encounter, apart from clothes, with your paintball gun.
Paintball Splashes and Walls
If you are practicing in your backyard, you are certainly going to hit the walls of your house. It will wash off eventually if it rains often in your area. But it may not, if it is in a hard-to-reach area, and as it dries with time, the washing is going to get tougher.
It is better to wash it off as soon as you are done practicing with pressure water from your garden hose as it happens to be the easiest way of doing it. Take help from a scrubber or a brush if you feel like it.
Paintballs Splashes against Cars
The same rules apply to cars too. You can easily wash the paint with a soft, damp cloth and take help from a mild detergent. Or, you can simply pressure wash it if you think that is better.
Paintball Splashes and Trees
To a nature-loving eye, it is one of the worst things to see trees all stained with paint dye. Washing them is easy though, and fortunately, paintballs do not cause any damage to the trees as they are non-toxic. Wash off the paint with water and a brush if needed.
We will conclude the topic by saying one more time that paintball splashes are nothing to worry about. Be it on your clothes, shoes, cars, walls, or trees.
Unless you made a really bad choice about what you are wearing to the field, all the stains will go away, given that good quality paint was used in the field.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does paintball paint stain?
No, in most cases paintball paint does not stain any surface it comes in touch with. It is water soluble and can be washed off easily.
Why has paintball paint stained my shirt?
Some reasons can cause paintball stains to become permanent. Poor quality paint, expired paint, not washing your clothes in time, and being shot from a close distance can make it hard to remove paintball stains from your clothes.
Can I wash my paintball gear with other clothes?
Technically speaking, yes, you can. But you better not! Paintball paint is water soluble and can be washed easily, but it may stain those light colored clothes you are washing it with. It is better to prevent than to cure.
Can I wash my paintball clothes in the washing machine?
Yes, you can. But it is always better to pre-wash them outside the washing machine and then dump them in the machine to get rid of any remaining paint. It will ensure you do not cause any long-run damage to your machine.